DEFINITION: AIDS and HIV are not the same thing. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, which protects your body from disease. Someone is said to have AIDS if their immune systems are badly damaged by the HIV virus, or if they develop serious infections connected with HIV. Generally, people don’t die from AIDS itself, but from the other diseases that AIDS leaves you susceptible to.

HISTORY: The term AIDS (“acquired immune deficiency syndrome”) was first used in July of 1982. Though AIDS-related deaths occurred before 1982, it was only then that the medical community began to understand the disease. President Ronald Reagan did not use the word in public until three years later in 1985.

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